South by Southwest is heading to Sydney in 2023, the first time the pop culture and “futurist” festival has branched outside the US since its launch in 1987.
SXSW Sydney will run from 15 to 22 October next year with 1,000 events, screenings and performances across the city, Destination NSW, the New South Wales government’s tourism and major events agency, announced on Thursday.
Details of the lineup and keynote speakers will be announced in the coming months.
Over three decades, the annual Texas festival has welcomed high-profile speakers spanning Hollywood, politics and technology, including Barack and Michelle Obama, Jordan Peele, Taika Waititi, Steven Spielberg, Lady Gaga, Prince, Melinda Gates, Elizabeth Warren and Snoop Dogg. It has also become a hub for film and television premieres, music, gaming, technology and podcasting.
The managing director of SXSW Sydney, Colin Daniels, said the new festival would “showcase the largest group of inspiring international thinkers, creators, innovators and performers ever seen in Sydney at one time” and focus on those working in the Asia-Pacific region.
The Sydney festival is being billed as “the official annual Asia-Pacific instalment of SXSW” but SXSW’s interactive director, Hugh Forrest told Variety that the Sydney event would also extend invitations to individuals from Silicon Valley and Hollywood.
The event producer for SXSW Sydney, Geoff Jones, described the festival as “the Olympics of events for the creator industries”.
“We are thrilled to bring this legendary festival of gaming, music, screen, tech and innovation to Sydney in 2023,” he said.
The state minister for tourism and sport, Stuart Ayres, said the festival would “provide significant benefits for the NSW visitor economy”.
The Australian Recording Industry Association’s chief executive, Annabelle Herd, welcomed the news, calling it “a real opportunity for Australia to lead the global discussion in future trends, innovation and the value of the creative economy”.
She said it was “a genuine game-changer for Sydney’s cultural outlook, but it is also an exceptional moment for the Asia Pacific region, which has long deserved a conference of this scale”.
The next SXSW will take place in Austin in March.